District 4 City Council candidate Don Warren said he wants to ensure that Tyler remains a great place to live and raise a family.
Warren will face Eleno Licea for the District 4 position in the May 10 city election, and recently answered questions from the Tyler Morning Telegraph editorial board. District 4 includes most of northeast Tyler, as well as East Texas Medical Center and Mother Frances Hospital.
Warren, a 56-year-old Tyler native, owns Lomoco Inc., a small oil and gas investment company, and serves on the Tyler Planning and Zoning Commission board. He also has been involved with the task force for the proposed downtown arts and innovation center, the Gateway to Hope homeless resource center, and the Bergfeld Park Improvement Project, which includes plans for playground improvements.
He attended Robert E. Lee High School and graduated from Texas Tech University.
Warren said he was brought up in a political home, with a father who was involved in politics.
“What I saw really was the good, the bad and the ugly of politics, and I didn’t want to have any part of it,” he said.
Decades later, as he sees the Tyler community, he said he realizes why his father did what he did, and wants to make sure Tyler continues to be a great place to live and raise a family.
“We’ve had great mayors, we’ve had great councils and I think we’ve gotten to a point where we need to continue the path where we’ve come from. History’s been great, and the future will be great, I think, if we go the same direction,” Warren said.
He said he has developed relationships with city staff and city officials, and believes that with good relationships and friendships comes the ability to make decisions and move the city forward.
“We might not always agree on everything, but I think having good relationships with the people that you’re working with are essential …,” he said.
He said he also believes having a consensus on the city council is imperative, and he offers a positive outlook. He said he also brings to the table a good business background, a good common-sense background and communication skills, among other things.
Warren referenced street improvements and traffic as city challenges, and said he considers homelessness “a challenge that needs to be dealt with.”
As far as District 4 itself, he said, public safety is one issue he’d like to address.
Warren also discussed city finances.
He said it would be nice to have more city money for parks, but overall he is satisfied with the city’s tax rate. He said he also was in favor of the half cent sales tax when it was voted on and believes that the city’s pay-as-you-go plan is doing what it was intended to do.
Warren said he isn’t completely against the city getting into general obligation bonded indebtedness, but he personally would likely only consider it for an events center.
“If there was money coming in for the hotel/motel tax that could support some indebtedness there, maybe, but I don’t think that the city needs to incur debt other than that,” he said.
Warren said he believes he and his opponent have different attitudes in that his opponent “may want to shake things up.”
“I think that (wanting to ‘shake things up’) refers back to the relationship that I have with the existing council and with the existing staff and whether or not I am capable of making my own decisions based on my individuality, which I am totally capable of doing,” he said. “And I don’t think it’s necessary to go in there and do a shake and bake on the city council to get something to happen … I want to go in there and just have a nice conversation and try to make things happen with other guys on the council and try to reach consensus.”
If elected, he said he plans “to ensure that our lives and the lives of our children are protected.”
“It’s a great community, and I want to be responsible and be on the city council that ensures this is where you want to live,” he said.